Thursday, November 29, 2007

Deep Water Wind in Scotland is a good sign for Texas

The Wall Street Journal ran an interesting story today about the installation of the world's two largest wind turbines in deep water off the east coast of Scotland. The United Kingdom has rapidly declining oil and gas production in the North Sea, requirements to generate 20% of their power from renewable sources by 2020, and excellent off-shore wind. Because they are concerned about unemployed energy sector workers from the loss of oil and gas production, the idea is to convert them into wind energy workers, which also allows industry to take advantages of its deep-water assets (that is, its platforms), while making progress towards their renewable targets. Seems promsing.

I often joke that the wind is where the people are not, because no one wants to live where it's windy. Except for the Scots. And now they can turn their hardy indifference to wind into a money maker.

Sounds like a great idea, and Texas can do something similar. We have extensive expertise in offshore construction, excellent wind in the Gulf of Mexico, and declining oil and gas production. Maybe it's time for us to accelerate our offshore wind farm construction? The only thing we lack are similarly aggresive renewable power targets for 2020...

....oh, and a whole lot of money. Deep water wind capacity is almost a factor of ten more expensive per kilowatt than wind-fueled capacity in the West Texas flatlands. But, at least it doesn't ruin any rachers' views.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Oil and Gas University Is Now in the Hydrogen Business

The University of Texas, heretofore known as an oil and gas university, is now officially in the business of producing, dispensing and using hydrogen as a fuel for transportation. See this article here: Texas Builds Hydrogen Depot
Why on earth would they want to take perfectly good natural gas and convert it to hydrogen?